Wikipedia:WikiProject History/Review/A-Class review/Louis Rubidoux

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Louis Rubidoux[edit]

[Based on Benjamin M. Read, Illustrated History of N.Mex., Santa Fe, 1912, p. 449.]

The Roubideaux brothers [AKA RUBIDOUX, THUS henceforth] Joseph and Louis were fur trappers of Canadian origin who worked the commerce of the prairies along the Santa Fe Tail during the nineteenth century. St. Joseph, Missouri was named for Joseph Rubidoux and Mt. Rubidoux in Riverside County, California was named for his younger brother Louis. Louis Rubidoux lived in Taos where he married a local woman. He had difficulty with Charles Bent, the powerful business entrepreneur and builder of the Bent’s Fort along the Arkansas River that marked the northern border between Mexico and the United States after 1819. In 1846, Bent would be appointed as the first governor of New Mexico under American rule, and assassinated within a few months. Among those also working in and around Taos in the early 1840s were John Roland, William Workman, and B.D. Wilson. Within a few years, Louis Rubidoux and the others were all to meet in Southern California. Rowland, Workman and Wilson moved to California from New Mexico in 1841-1842, and Louis Rubidoux made the journey a couple of years later in 1844. On May 1, 1848, after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo settled the Mexican American War, Rubidoux wrote from California to his friend Manuel Alvarez, a native Spaniard who lived in Santa Fe and had worked as American Consul. During the U.S.-Mexican War, Alvarez worked as a commercial agent for U.S. Interests in New Mexico. Rubidoux wanted to share with him some "war stories" about the California theatre of that war. Historian Benjamin Read, author of Illustrated History of New Mexico (1912, Santa Fe) quoted extensively from Rubidoux’s letter to Alvarez. It related that on Sept. 25, 1846, eighteen estrangeros, literally foreigners or “strangers,” i.e. non-Mexicans, had met at his house in California in order to defend themselves against an insurrection they felt in the air. [Rowland, Workman and Rubidoux, all married to northern New Mexican women, and technically were therefore all Mexican citizens through marriage.] Rubidoux lived in Jurupa, south of present-day Corona. His neighbor there was Benjamin Davis Wilson of Tennessee who had traveled with John Rowland and William Workman from Taos through Abiquiu, NM to southern California in 1841. Living in the Pasadena area, Wilson was later to make a fortune in the timber industry, and Mt. Wilson would be named for him. In his letter to Alvarez, Rubidoux related that on September 26, with John Rowland as "one of our warriors," they traveled about six leagues to the Chino Ranch where they met five more estrangeros. They were planning to go from there toward L.A. to join other Americanos. However, on the next day, they surrendered to General José María Flores who attacked with a superior force of 200 men. The original Mexican plan was to take the Americanos prisoners of war to the capital of Mexico. However, the Mexican soldiers instead kept the Americans as prisoners of war without marching them to Mexico City, either because they were fearful of American reprisals or because they accepted bribes for their release. General Stephen Watts Kearny, who in August 1846 had taken relatively peaceful possession of Santa Fe and all of New Mexico, left with Kit Carson via San Diego for California to help John C. Freemont. Kearny arrived in California from New Mexico by December, and together with his 100 dragoons met up with Commodore Stockton. The two engaged remnants of the Mexican Army from January 7 to 9, 1847. One of the skirmishes took place at what is now the intersection of Bluff road and Washington Blvd in Montebello, about fourteen miles east of Los Angeles. Kearny and Stockton freed the prisoners of war and defeated Don Andres Pico, the second chief and Mexican successor of General Flores. In New Mexico, Governor Bent was assassinated during the Taos uprising during mid January 1847, and this indicated that General Kearny may have left New Mexico prematurely. In California, Colonel John C. Freemont offered a treaty of peace. The U.S. paid Mexico $15 million for New Mexico and California together.